The use of chemical weapons in Ghouta by Bashar Al-Assad, notorious for using the most heinous of means to liquidate foes, has invited strong denunciation by the international community.
Bashaar looks vowed to spare not even the last human baby in Eastern Ghouta, the last bastion of the regime’s dissidents. That is what the tragedy in Douma, Ghouta, proves; more than seventy lives were lost by suffocation including women and children. The shocking details of the Douma tragedy were brought to light by the NGO, White Helmets who were involved in relief activities in opposition-controlled zones of Syria. Volunteers of the NGO tell stories of attacks using chlorine and other unidentifiable gases in such a way as to sweep away women and children who had hidden themselves in bunkers and shelters fearing for their lives.
This is not the first time chemical gases were used in Syria. The first attack was near Aleppo In March 2013. This was followed by chemical attacks at different times in 17 locations. Accusations were raised about use of sarin gas, which is capable of interaction in human nerves within ten minutes and killing the victims, in Khan Sheikhoun last year. As always in the past, this time again the Syrian authorities have denied the reports of chemical warfare. Local residents say that on Friday night the regime forces conducted severe bombing at Douma, including use of chorine-filled barrel bombs which can cause loss of breath. They also affirm that about a thousand people are fighting death in the region.
Following the treaty reached between Russia and Jaishul Islam militia on Sunday, 8,000 rebel fighters, and about 40,000 of their relatives were being shifted to the rebel stronghold in northern Syria. Russia had earlier reached evacuation agreement with rebel forces Failaq Al-Rahman and Ahrar Al-Sham. It was amidst such peace efforts that chemical weapons were used after a gap of a year.
Big power nations and alliances including America, Britain and European Union came out strongly denouncing the use of chemical weapons. Even neighbouring Turkey, which has been trying for a solution to the crisis with Iran and Russia – both active in helping the Syrian dictator - severely berated the use of chemical weapons. Further, Turkey also demanded that the matter should be investigated by OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), the body to prevent use of chemical weapons. Thereafter, early Monday morning in the military airport 40 km away from Palmera in Homs province, another strong attack took place which Russia blames on Israel. Here again several civilians were killed.
In Syria, where all big powers of the world set foot one way or the other, whoever conducts attacks wheresover, it is innocent civilians who bear the loss. An example is of Eastern Ghouta where an embargo has been in place for four years. When Bashar brings in Russia and Iran, the opposition forces seek to make their position safe by pitting America and other allied forces on their side. Thus on both sides, the beneficiaries are the big powers in the scene with ambitions of occupation. When Russia and Iran support the Syrian regime, the presence of Western-Arab forces including the US lends support to the rebel groups.
Recently when at the initiative of Turkey, Iran and Russian presidents met at Ankara, and at the discussions there, they exhorted world powers to isolate armed groups. Turkish president Erdogan also declared that the goal of the tripartite treaty was to try for reconstruction works once peace is restored. In other words, it was for a national reconstruction with Bashar in power that Turkey moved along with Syria’s supporters. On the other hand, the West and Arab alliances are not satisfied with anything less than regime change. But all moves in that direction have been a failure, as proved by the strength of rebel forces dwindling by the day. Things having come to such a pass, what the international community is bound to do is endeavour as expeditiously as possible for providing a safe country to the surviving population.